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help for a beginner

I have a 10 year old son who would like to learn programming. He's done a little bit in BASIC, but that's it so far. I don't have any programming experience, but I am reasonably computer literate and work from home, so I have time to help him learn.

He enjoys computer and Nintendo games (e.g., Legend of Zelda), and I think he would be more likely to stick with really learning to program if he could work on eventually creating his own games.

My questions are: What language should he learn first? Also, can he learn on his own, with my help, or should we try to find a class?

Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks!

Jim
Charlotte, NC

Comments

  • ScorpionScorpion Posts: 26Member
    I think your son is young enough to benefit from self-learning. Most schools and high-schools don't provide the necessary programming classes as the mandatory computer courses are aimed at the general semi-computer literate. Post-secondary education is where he'll profit from professional classes.

    In the meantime, I'd let him learn whatever language he feels comfortable with. I do recommend C and eventually C++ when he discovers the limits of BASIC, whatever the platform. I believe that learning to problem-solve effectively is the first priority, and that goes for many employers as well.

    $0.02 from someone who's followed the same road.


    : I have a 10 year old son who would like to learn programming. He's done a little bit in BASIC, but that's it so far. I don't have any programming experience, but I am reasonably computer literate and work from home, so I have time to help him learn.
    :
    : He enjoys computer and Nintendo games (e.g., Legend of Zelda), and I think he would be more likely to stick with really learning to program if he could work on eventually creating his own games.
    :
    : My questions are: What language should he learn first? Also, can he learn on his own, with my help, or should we try to find a class?
    :
    : Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks!
    :
    : Jim
    : Charlotte, NC
    :


  • gautamgautam Posts: 642Member
    From someone else who followed almost the same road :-

    Well I would suggest c and c++ and vc++(for windows games). Many have the misconception that someone that young will not be able to program. Well anyway thats the sorry state in my country.

    If he is keen on games I also advise you Analytical Geometry, trignometry as these will be used heavily in games. A lot of maths is involved in 3d games etc.


    : I think your son is young enough to benefit from self-learning. Most schools and high-schools don't provide the necessary programming classes as the mandatory computer courses are aimed at the general semi-computer literate. Post-secondary education is where he'll profit from professional classes.
    :
    : In the meantime, I'd let him learn whatever language he feels comfortable with. I do recommend C and eventually C++ when he discovers the limits of BASIC, whatever the platform. I believe that learning to problem-solve effectively is the first priority, and that goes for many employers as well.
    :
    : $0.02 from someone who's followed the same road.
    :
    :
    : : I have a 10 year old son who would like to learn programming. He's done a little bit in BASIC, but that's it so far. I don't have any programming experience, but I am reasonably computer literate and work from home, so I have time to help him learn.
    : :
    : : He enjoys computer and Nintendo games (e.g., Legend of Zelda), and I think he would be more likely to stick with really learning to program if he could work on eventually creating his own games.
    : :
    : : My questions are: What language should he learn first? Also, can he learn on his own, with my help, or should we try to find a class?
    : :
    : : Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks!
    : :
    : : Jim
    : : Charlotte, NC
    : :
    :
    :


  • DrGonzoDrGonzo Posts: 41Member
    : I have a 10 year old son who would like to learn programming. He's done a little bit in BASIC, but that's it so far. I don't have any programming experience, but I am reasonably computer literate and work from home, so I have time to help him learn.
    :
    : He enjoys computer and Nintendo games (e.g., Legend of Zelda), and I think he would be more likely to stick with really learning to program if he could work on eventually creating his own games.
    :
    : My questions are: What language should he learn first? Also, can he learn on his own, with my help, or should we try to find a class?
    :
    : Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks!
    :
    : Jim
    : Charlotte, NC
    :
    :

    You should be given a medal, if only more parents were like that about there kids learning, especially programming.

  • kreitlerkreitler Posts: 218Member
    : I have a 10 year old son who would like to learn programming. He's done a little bit in BASIC, but that's it so far. I don't have any programming experience, but I am reasonably computer literate and work from home, so I have time to help him learn.
    :
    : He enjoys computer and Nintendo games (e.g., Legend of Zelda), and I think he would be more likely to stick with really learning to program if he could work on eventually creating his own games.
    :
    : My questions are: What language should he learn first? Also, can he learn on his own, with my help, or should we try to find a class?
    :
    : Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks!
    :
    : Jim
    : Charlotte, NC
    :
    :

  • kreitlerkreitler Posts: 218Member
    Hi Jim,
    First off, I agree with Dr. Gonzo--you deserve a medal.
    Now, as to your questions...
    What language to learn first? BASIC is a good choice. That's how many of us started learning when we were your son's age. Those who recommend C and C++ have a valid point--those are the languages used to write most professional games. However, they are quite difficult to master and (IMHO) are best learned as "phase II" languages (i.e., once you understand general programming concepts, you can learn those languages and focus on mastering their more complicated structure).
    Java is another good choice for a first language. It's only slightly more involved than BASIC, but it is very similar to C and C++, so it's a good "bridge". It's a language in widespread professional use and many good tools exist for free.
    Can your son learn by himself? Mostly, that depends on him. A lot of us started out alone, copying programs out of computer game magazines and getting them to work on our machines. Such publications are not so common today--but there *are* many tutorials on the web that offer much the same experience. I guess I'd recommend sitting down with him and looking through some of those sites until he finds one or two that interest him. Then watch and see how he's doing--help him if he needs it.
    As for a class? Again, that depends on him. Most of the "self starters" I know had no need for classes--their interest propelled them through the material much faster than any academic course could.
    Sorry for the long post. This happens to be a subject of great interest to me. For some time now I've been trying to figure out how to help modern kids get the opportunity to *write* games instead of just play them.
    If you'd like to discuss any of these ideas in more depth, please don't hesitate to email me (kreitler@ix.netcom.com).
    Good luck!

    Kreitler

  • ehsax00ehsax00 Posts: 219Member
    you deserve two medals! man..I'm 16 now and I wish my parents had let me get a start earlier..they thought I was jus playing games until one day they actually saw my scripting. I am in the process of learning C++, and I reccomed a VERY good book. I found a website but i lost it...and I havent found a good one since. If you find one, please tell me, and if your son has questions that can be explained to a newer scripter (I know I do :-p) dont be afraid to ask. My email is ehsax00@yahoo.com and I check it a few times a day. I'd like to help one of my generation learn with me.
  • Wannabean333Wannabean333 Posts: 85Member
    I am a 13 year old programmer who started in november last year. I am learning c++ and I had a little experience with programming graphing calculators. C++ is tough. C is pretty easy, but it is even confusing for me. He should not expect to write the next Final Fantasy but I think he should know that all he will be able to do for a while is just text stuff. He needs to be patient. That's what I have to tell myself too. If it's confusing to him, just learn it yourself so you can help him. If he can learn it, you can learn it too, so, he will have all the help he needs. Just buy a book like: Beginning Programming for Dummies.

    : I have a 10 year old son who would like to learn programming. He's done a little bit in BASIC, but that's it so far. I don't have any programming experience, but I am reasonably computer literate and work from home, so I have time to help him learn.
    :
    : He enjoys computer and Nintendo games (e.g., Legend of Zelda), and I think he would be more likely to stick with really learning to program if he could work on eventually creating his own games.
    :
    : My questions are: What language should he learn first? Also, can he learn on his own, with my help, or should we try to find a class?
    :
    : Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks!
    :
    : Jim
    : Charlotte, NC
    :
    :

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